Namaqualand and the Tankwa Karoo: The Clanwilliam Flower Show

I want to welcome Karl-Heinz Niemand, a new guest blogger to Notes from Africa. Karl-Heinz and his wife Sonette love going on camping trips to some of the more remote areas around Southern Africa. As it has been years since I’ve been to Namaqualand to see the Spring flowers, I was very happy when Karl-Heinz offered to share their experience on my blog.  As he took so many wonderful photographs, I’m going to be publishing their trip as a series.

Every year in Spring, the Namaqualand, a usually dry and drab part of South Africa, explodes into colour when the Spring flowers make their appearance. It is tricky to plan a trip to see the flowers as everything depends on the timing of rains and the temperatures.

– Lisa.

A guest post by Karl-Heinz for Notes from Africa

We planned this short tour after we had to cancel our planned two-week tour to Namibia.

We left on Monday morning 27 August and took the tar road (R62) from Oudtshoorn. Heading west via Worcester this meets the famous N7 (leading north to Namibia), at the foot of the Piekenierskloof pass. This route took us past Citrusdal and Clanwilliam. We stopped at Clanwilliam to visit the annual flower show. This show represents all the various veld types of the Namaqua Region. It was started during the early nighties and is held in the old Dutch Reformed Church.

We continued further north and stopped at Garies to visit the “Toersimestal” (Tourist Information Centre) to enquire about the area, and the best routes to travel to see flowers. There we met a very enthusiastic Sonja Jordaan who explains to every tourist visiting the padstal (roadside stall) and coffee shop, the best routes to travel and what you can expect on each route. This place was busy and while talking to Sonja, she was also organizing visits for tourist buses.

We travelled the last ± 46 km to Kamieskroon where we would stay the next three nights. What a wonderful experience to stay with Sally and Oubaas van Wyk – it was like staying with family!

The old Dutch-Reformed Church in Clanwilliam which hosts the annual flower show.  It provides a preview of what one can expect to see in the veld. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The photographs below were all taken inside the church, and represent the various veld-types of the Namaqua Region.

The Renosterveld. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

Fynbos flowers ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The Knersvlakte. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The Strandveld. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The Succulent Karoo. ©Karl-Heinz Niemand

The Namaqualand and Tankwa Karoo series includes:

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Categories: Guest Bloggers, Lifestyle/Travel, Nature/Environment


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at and (my photoblog)


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11 Comments on “Namaqualand and the Tankwa Karoo: The Clanwilliam Flower Show”

  1. Lu
    November 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    Always beautiful to see flowers on display like this. Although it is always wonderful to see things in situ and as naturally as possible – this gives you a chance to see things that you might otherwise miss.

    • November 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

      Flower shows like this help educate visitors and also promote the “flower tourism”, but I also prefer to see the flowers out in the wild. See the next post for the wild version.

  2. November 8, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    How lovely. Just as everything has died here in North America, it’s so nice to see living, blooming flowers. Thanks to Karl-Heinz for sharing his images and thanks to Lisa for introducing us to his work.

    • November 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

      Thanks Kathy! I’m very grateful to people like Karl-Heinz who share their experiences and photos with me.

  3. Eha
    November 8, 2012 at 4:24 am #

    My heart sings when I look at these beautiful simple flowers in all their manifold colours! I do hope you do not mind my reposting to both the Land Down Under and the US!

    • November 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      Thanks for your kind comment, Eha! See the next post for the wild flower version.

  4. November 8, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    What gorgeous flowers! Thank you Karl-Heinz for sharing your photos here.

    • November 8, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

      They are gorgeous aren’t they? I’m always amazed at the variety of beautiful flowers which grow in such an arid region.

  5. November 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I really enjoyed this tour around the flower show. I like how they have the plantings in natural groups. It all seems just how you might find them growing wild in nature.
    Excellent photos.
    Thank you for sharing, Lisa and Karl-Heinz!

    • November 12, 2012 at 7:03 am #

      Thanks Jackie! The flower show is a great way to acquaint yourself with what to expect driving around in the area, and also highlight the changes in the flora from one part of the region to the other. In the post after this one, you can see Karl-Heinz’s photos of flowers out “in the wild”.


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